After Afghan boycott of cricket with Pakistan, high time India boycotts June 4 match

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India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh all affected by Pakistan backed terror. Time we isolate Pakistan. After Afghan boycott of cricket with Pakistan, high time India boycotts June 4 match


Sumi Khan. Award winning Bangladeshi journalist. Recipient of The Guardian Hugo Young Award IWMF Courage Award & CPJ Courage Award. She tweets at @SumiKhan3

Aveek Sen. Independent Indian journalist working on cyber security and the geopolitics of India’s neighbourhood, focussing on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Bangladesh. He tweets at @aveeksen

Ahmad Javed Turab is a London based writer on politics and security of South and West Asia. He has MSc International relations from London and a founder of Afghan youth society UK. He tweets @JavedTurab.


Today the world sees Pakistan as using terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy. The tentacles of Pakistani Terrorism can be seen till Afghanistan and destruction of Afghanistan is blamed on Pakistan and its Intelligence Agency ISI. The involvement of ISI in terror attacks in India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh has been proved multiple times. Whether it is to eliminate politicians like Benazir Bhutto or using terrorism against other countries this has been a policy of Pakistan’s military establishment.

Historical background of conflict with Pakistan:



Pakistan was founded on the lines that Muslims can’t live with Hindus. However India has more Muslims and are prosperous here. On the other hand inside Pakistan, except Punjabis all others (though Muslim) are discriminated against. On 22nd October 1947, Pakistan invaded the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. The king asked for Indian help and joined India by signing the ‘instrument of accession’. On 26th October Indian troops landed to defend J&K.


Since the India and Pakistan have fought 4 major wars. Pakistan keeps raking up the ‘Kashmir issue’ but shows absolutely no desire to resolve it. The UN resolution of 17 January, 1948 clearly says that J&K issue is between India and J&K, Pakistan is no party to it. Moreover for plebiscite, Pakistan has to remove all troops whereas India merely has to reduce numbers at its discretion. Pakistan also has to remove people from outside occupied PoJK that it has settled there to change the demographics. At present, Pakistan’s issue isn’t Kashmir- it has ceded a part of PoJK to China, some good thing to do with its ‘Shah rag’. Its human rights record there is dismal.


Pakistan unsuccessfully tried to create militancy in 1965 ‘Operation Gibraltar’. However during the Afghan war post 1979, it received huge funds from US and Saudi Arabia. It funneled them into creating militancy in Kashmir and Punjab. Today terrorism and associated drug trade  is a major source of income for the Pakistani establishment.



Pakistan enmity with Afghanistan started right on the day it was founded on 14th August 1947.

The enemity was over the Durand line issue. Pakistan thinks that if Afghanistan becomes a strong and prosperous nation those living in occupied Afghanistan, FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the east of the Durand line in Pakistan will feel a stronger pull towards Afghanistan. They would say, “Za Afghan yam, Mung Da Afghanistan yawa Berkha you  ( I am an Afghan and we are part of Afghanistan).”

Pakistan found its golden chance to intervene when Russia invaded Afghanistan, millions of Afghans took refuge in Pakistan and started a gorilla struggle against the communist regime.

Pakistani military and Intelligence services divided Mujahideen into seven factions and created a fragmented overseas government. In 1992 when Mujahideen took over  Kabul, they started an armed struggle against each other for power. Pakistan succeeded in its plan to destroy Kabul, the Afghan armed forces and its military equipment. While Pakistan succeded in destroying Kabul, now it was time to isolate Afghanistan even more through religious extremism. They supported the Taliban regime to fulfill its hegemonic desire to rule  all over Afghanistan.

Post 9/11, the Taliban was removed in December 2001 by the American coalition  and UN help. Now Pakistan using Taliban remnants as a headache for the Afghan government so that the Afghan government doesn’t become a stable Government and ask Pakistan for the Durand line to be dissolved and parts of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to be re merged with Afghanistan as Loy/Greater Afghanistan.

Post 9/11, US intervened in Afghanistan and the Taliban regime was overthrown with the help of former warlords from around Afghanistan. An interm government was formed in an agreement by the UN and Afghans participation in Bonn confrence. Afghanistan was stable until 2003, when the US turned its back on Afghanistan and invaded Iraq. Pakistan took advantage of the opportunity and give sancturies to Taliban remnants. Pakistan helped Taliban to return back to Afghanistan and start a new guerilla  war against the premature Afghan government. Pakistan aims to have a weak Afghan government under its influence, moreover if it becomes stable government, it will asks for the Durand line to be dissolved, it will result in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remerging Afghanistan as Loy/Greater Afghanistan.


From the partition of India 1947 till date Pakistan has relentlessly tried tried to subjugate and destroy Bengali culture and heritage. To this day, Pakistan hasn’t been able to come to terms with the independence of Bangladesh. Whether it was the Razakar death squads in 1970s or JMB today, Pakistan has continued its backing of terrorism.

When Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan, they were treated as second class citizens. They could never tolerate the political leadership of Bengalis. Whether Khwaja Nazimuddin, Mohammed Ali of Bogra , Hussain Shahid Suhrawardy or DhirendraNath Datta they were all ill treated by Pakistan’s establishment. When Sheikh Mujib won the elections, in due course he should have handed over power to him but they did not. Finally in 1971, Bangladesh got independence with the martyrdom of 3 million Bangladeshis.


Present day conflict:


Relations of Bangladesh and Pakistan are bad to this day. In recent times it has further deteriorated due to the International War Crimes Tribunal in which Bangladesh is trying the war criminals of 1971. Vide an act of 1973 these trials have been started.

On 23rd December 2016 Pakistan High Commission second secretary Farina Arshad was expelled for links to terror groups and involvement in their financing. Conclusive evidence of Pakistan embassy’s involvement in banking terrorism was found and the  terrorist from Pakistan occupied Kashmir confessed in court.

Mohammad Mazhar Khan, consular officer at Pakistan High Commission was convicted on money laundering and terror financing. How could the embassy of a country interfere not just in internal issues of another country but also back terrorists and run Hundi (illegal money transfer network). From running fake currency rackets to drug trade they are involved in all sorts of criminal activities and evade trial under diplomatic immunity.

Prior to this, in the 21st August 2004  bombing attempt on Sheikh Hasina Mufti Hanan of HUJI was arrested. RAB police interrogated him and he confessed how ISI provided money and specified that targets. In an interview with me, HUJI ‘Emir’ Yahya told  me he was recruited by ISI and  was sent to Afghanistan.


Just prior to the last election, multiple bombings were  carried out by Pakistan backed terrorists. Some of them have been arrested. In the holy Artisan – Gulshan Cafe terror attack last year(popularly known to the world as the Dhaka cafe attack), Bangladeshi detective got a lot of evidence of links to Pakistan. In such a situation it is very difficult for Bangladesh to maintain good relations with Pakistan.


In November 2015 BNP, leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mujaheed were executed. Pakistan tried to discredit the tribunal. Chaudhry Nisar summoned the Bangladeshi ambassador and called the verdict a witch hunt. Influential Pakistanis like cricketer current politician Imran Khan and journalist Hamid Mir protested against the executions. Since then Pakistan has repeatedly raked up the issue.


Then in September 2016,  Mir Quasem Ali was executed and Pakistan’s Parliament passed a resolution condemning the execution. Mir Qasim Ali was the main fundraisers for the radical Bangladesh Jamaat e Islami. A resolution passed in Pakistan’s Parliament highlights how close the Jamat is to Pakistan to this day and also how Pakistan interferes in Bangladesh to this day.


In this environment, Bangladesh boycotted the SAARC summit in Islamabad. Bangladesh’s Deputy Foreign Minister Md. Shahriar Alam said that we won’t compromise on the issues of the sovereignty of Bangladesh, liberation war history, the trial of the murders of the founder of the nation Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujib and war crimes trials.



All the the terror attacks that are happening  in Afghanistan get claimed by Taliban or the Haqqani network, who are based in Pakistan For example, the Quetta shura based in Balochistan or the Peshawar shura based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of of Pakistan. The attacks are planned in Pakistan  Their safe havens, their sanctuaries are all in Pakistan. They are trained by the Pakistan military and all the terror attacks are planned in Pakistan. The terror attack on the first day of Ramadan (Ramzan) in Khost that had  heavy casualties. The terror attack was carried out in Khost in Afghanistan but it was planned in Pakistan. No just the Afghan people but now even US and the international community know  that the Taliban, Haqqani network, ISKP are the proxies of the  Pakistani establishment. Mullah Mansour was droned in Quetta and a Pakistani passport found with him. Mullah Omar died in a Pakistani hospital. All the perpetrators of the terror attack on the Afghan military base in Mazar-e-Sharif  came from across the Durand line in Pakistan.


Lot of Afghan civilians got injured and killed in the rocket attacks/shelling in Kunar and Nangarhar by Pakistan army in recent days, just before Ramadan. There’s an ongoing campaign against Afghan villages by  the Pakistan military. This is another reason why the Afghan hate for the Pakistani side if growing. The attack on Torkham crossing lasted very long and the Torkham crossing was shut a long period. Afghan faced a lot of ,misery on both sides on the Durand line. The Afghan refugees who wanted to come back to Afghanistan and the Afghans medical patients who wanted to go to the east of the Durand line for treatment  got stuck. People even died on the Durand line waiting to avail medical aid. So what would the Afghan expect from Pakistan??!


The skirmish between Afghan and Pakistani security forces  in Spin Boldak area,Kandahar and Quetta crossing where Pakistanis crossed into an Afghan village under the pretext of carrying out census.At 2AM in the morning who send military to trespass across the Durand line? The crossing in Spin Boldak was close for some 20 days and it was reopened on the first day of Ramadan.


So, the policy that Pakistan is playing of good and bad Taliban. The Taliban Pakistan is using against Afghanistan they call them “good Taliban”.The Taliban that attacks Pakistan, they call them “bad Taliban”. Until they play the good-bad Taliban policy, there will be no mercy from Afghan people towards Pakistan. They are killing Afghans on a daily basis, for example the attack in Kabul yesterday 31st May which has heavy casualties f more than 350.  I just spoke to my family and friends in Kabul and they say it was like an earthquake. It shook Kabul before the blast was heard. It is believed that more than 1500 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the terror attack. For miles and miles the window glasses got shattered. So we cannot have diplomacy or friendly games if on one hand they want to play cricket with us and on the other hand they want to blow us up. This just cannot go on. Unless Pakistan stops sponsoring terrorism in Afghanistan or stops providing the terrorists sanctuaries in their country, we cannot play cricket with Pakistan or have cricket diplomacy with Pakistan. The world needs to isolate Pakistan. The neighbours like India aren’t playing bilateral cricket matches with Pakistan. At the moment it is quite clear to the world as well that. Carlotta  Gall in her book “The Wrong Enemy” mentions how Pakistan military trains and provides sanctuaries to the Taliban.


We spoke to singer Adnan Sami for his views and he told us: “It is naive of anyone to think that a cricket match between India and Pakistan will have any impact on the political & military strains between us- has it ever? Play cricket; it will mean nothing but a game. Boycott cricket & it will also mean nothing.

Pakistan needs to understand that it cannot indefinitely keep provoking its 2 neighbours on opposite sides of its borders, namely India on one side & Afghanistan on the other side. They are tolerating this nonsense from Pak only because of the US presence in Pakistan. The day US leaves & these 2 brothers (Indians & Afghans) decide that enough is enough, Pakistan will be wiped out. If Pakistan is under any delusion that China will rescue her, she should look back in history and see that China has never been of any substantial help in any previous wars it has fought against India. This status quo will not go on for too long. Pakistan is already imploding.. It’s only a short while that it will explode.”

Many of us say that sporting and cultural exchanges should go on in any situation as its apolitical. Many people in Afghanistan were against the series with Pakistan and here are some popular posts from social media:

Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister for Border and Tribal Affairs in this Facebook post in Pashto says: “it is strange, we don’t have friendship (with Pakistan) but have friendly games. ”

After the 31st May terror bombing in Kabul, the mood of Afghanistan changed even more and Afghan Cricket Board cancelled its series with Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board however was not apolitical in its statement and refused to accept Pakistani involvement in the terror bombing. PCB said, “The PCB strongly rejects the baseless allegations leveled by Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in the wake of the tragic Kabul blast. While our sympathies are with the victims and families affected by the tragedy, we reject the irresponsible statement made by the ACB and hereby announce the cancellation of the proposed series between the two countries.

In such a situation, it is high time that India too boycott the multilateral series on June 4. Until PCB stops toeing the ISI line and until Pakistan stops sponsoring terrorism, it must be boycotted at all levels. India is the most influential cricket playing nation. India can apply pressure on others and set a precedent through BCCI. As popular Indian journalist Gaurav Sawant said in his article in 2015, “is terror less evil than apartheid?” If sports boycott helped with apartheid South Africa, it might help with Pakistan. Not just cricket, we must push for a complete boycott of Pakistan the way BDS movement pushes the world for boycott of goods manufactured in Israel.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of or its promoters. The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.


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